- Comparative animal psychology
I am currently working as doctoral student at the Centre for Research and Conservation (CRC) at Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO and the Behavioural Ecology and Ecophysiology research group at the University of Antwerp (UA). For my doctoral project I am researching how emotions affect the everyday life of bonobos, particularly observing their behaviour, physiology and cognition.
Emotions play an important part in the everyday lives of both humans and animals. In my research I am particularly interested in positive emotions. While the function of negative emotions has been examined fairly extensively, much research has yet to be done regarding positive emotions, especially in such a rare and endangered species as the bonobo. As we cannot verbally ask bonobos how they are feeling, I seek to determine this by studying their behaviour, by monitoring the hormonal changes in their hair, urine and saliva, and by analysing their cognition (attention, memory and decision making).
I have always been fascinated by animals. During secondary school, I worked as an animal caretaker at Apenheul (NL) and I spent six months as a volunteer in Indonesia working with orphaned orang-utans and other local fauna. I obtained a Master's degree in Behavioural Ecology at Utrecht University (NL), and during my internship carried out research for the Projet Grands Singes (PGS), a research project run by Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO in Cameroon into the effect of conservation activities. For my second internship, via Leiden University (NL), I carried out a touch-screen study with orang-utans to examine which emotions attract their attention. Before graduating, I worked as a research assistant via Leiden University conducting a field study into the behaviour of chimpanzees in Rwanda.
Laméris, D. W., Tagg, N. , Kuenbou, J. K., Sterck, E. H. and Willie, J. (2019), Drivers affecting mammal community structure and functional diversity under varied conservation efforts in a tropical rainforest in Cameroon. Anim Conserv. doi:10.1111/acv.12526